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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Romans: Chapter 7)

7:1 {To men that know the law} (\ginōskousin nomon\). Dative
plural of present active participle of \ginōskō\. The Romans,
whether Jews or Gentiles, knew the principle of law. {A man}
(\tou anthrōpou\). "The person," generic term \anthrōpos\, not

7:2 {The wife that hath a husband} (\hē hupandros gunē\). Late
word, under (in subjection to) a husband. Here only in N.T. {Is
(\dedetai\). Perfect passive indicative, stands bound. {By
(\nomōi\). Instrumental case. {To the husband while he
(\tōi zōnti andri\). "To the living husband," literally.
{But if the husband die} (\ean de apothanēi ho anēr\). Third
class condition, a supposable case (\ean\ and the second aorist
active subjunctive)
. {She is discharged} (\katērgētai\). Perfect
passive indicative of \katargeō\, to make void. She stands free
from the law of the husband. Cf. 6:6.

7:3 {While the husband liveth} (\zōntos tou andros\). Genitive
absolute of present active participle of \zaō\. {She shall be
(\chrēmatisei\). Future active indicative of
\chrēmatizō\, old verb, to receive a name as in Ac 11:26, from
\chrēma\, business, from \chraomai\, to use, then to give an
oracle, etc. {An adulteress} (\moichalis\). Late word, in
Plutarch, LXX. See on ¯Mt 12:39. {If she be joined} (\ean
. Third class condition, "if she come to." {So that she
is no adulteress}
(\tou mē einai autēn moichalida\). It is a fact
that \tou\ and the infinitive is used for result as we saw in
1:24. Conceived result may explain the idiom here.

7:4 {Ye also were made to the law} (\kai humeis ethanatōthēte\).
First aorist indicative passive of \thanatoō\, old verb, to put
to death (Mt 10:21) or to make to die (extinct) as here and Ro
8:13. The analogy calls for the death of the law, but Paul
refuses to say that. He changes the structure and makes them dead
to the law as the husband (6:3-6). The relation of marriage is
killed "through the body of Christ" as the "propitiation"
(3:25) for us. Cf. Col 1:22. {That we should be joined to
(\eis to genesthai heterōi\). Purpose clause with \eis
to\ and the infinitive. First mention of the saints as wedded to
Christ as their Husband occurs in 1Co 6:13; Ga 4:26. See
further Eph 5:22-33. {That we might bring forth fruit unto God}
(\hina karpophorēsōmen tōi theōi\). He changes the metaphor to
that of the tree used in 6:22.

7:5 {In the flesh} (\en tēi sarki\). Same sense as in 6:19 and
7:18,25. The "flesh" is not inherently sinful, but is subject
to sin. It is what Paul means by being "under the law." He uses
\sarx\ in a good many senses. {Sinful passions} (\ta pathēmata
tōn hamartiōn\)
. "Passions of sins" or marked by sins. {Wrought}
(\energeito\). Imperfect middle of \energeō\, "were active." {To
bring forth fruit unto death}
(\eis to karpophorēsai tōi
. Purpose clause again. Vivid picture of the seeds of
sin working for death.

7:6 {But now} (\nuni de\). In the new condition. {Wherein we were
(\en hōi kateichometha\). Imperfect passive of \katechō\,
picture of our former state (same verb in 1:18). {In newness of
(\en kainotēti pneumatos\). The death to the letter of
the law (the old husband) has set us free to the new life in
Christ. So Paul has shown again the obligation on us to live for

7:7 {Is the law sin?} (\ho nomos hamartia?\). A pertinent query
in view of what he had said. Some people today oppose all
inhibitions and prohibitions because they stimulate violations.
That is half-baked thinking. {I had not known sin} (\tēn
hamartian ouk egnōn\)
. Second aorist indicative of \ginōskō\, to
know. It is a conclusion of a second class condition, determined
as unfulfilled. Usually \an\ is used in the conclusion to make it
plain that it is second class condition instead of first class,
but occasionally it is not employed when it is plain enough
without as here (Joh 16:22,24). See on ¯Ga 4:15. So as to {I
had not known coveting}
(lust), \epithumian ouk ēidein\. But all
the same the law is not itself sin nor the cause of sin. Men with
their sinful natures turn law into an occasion for sinful acts.

7:8 {Finding occasion} (\aphormēn labousa\). See 2Co 5:12;
11:12; Ga 5:13 for \aphormēn\, a starting place from which to
rush into acts of sin, excuses for doing what they want to do.
Just so drinking men use the prohibition laws as "occasions" for
violating them. {Wrought in me} (\kateirgasato en emoi\). First
aorist active middle indicative of the intensive verb
\katergazomai\, to work out (to the finish), effective aorist.
The command not to lust made me lust more. {Dead} (\nekra\).
Inactive, not non-existent. Sin in reality was there in a dormant

7:9 {I was alive} (\ezōn\). Imperfect active. Apparently, "the
lost paradise in the infancy of men" (Denney), before the
conscience awoke and moral responsibility came, "a seeming life"
(Shedd). {Sin revived} (\hē hamartia anezēsen\). Sin came back to
life, waked up, the blissful innocent stage was over, "the
commandment having come" (\elthousēs tēs entolēs\, genitive
. {But I died} (\egō de apethanon\). My seeming life was
over for I was conscious of sin, of violation of law. I was dead
before, but I did not know. Now I found out that I was
spiritually dead.

7:10 {This I found unto death} (\heurethē moi--hautē eis
. Literally, "the commandment the one for (meant for)
life, this was found for me unto death." First aorist (effective)
passive indicative of \heuriskō\, to find, not active as the
English has it. It turned out so for me (ethical dative).

7:11 {Beguiled me} (\exēpatēsen me\). First aorist active
indicative of \exapataō\, old verb, completely (\ex\) made me
lose my way (\a\ privative, \pateō\, to walk). See on ¯1Co 3:18;
2Co 11:3. Only in Paul in N.T. {Slew me} (\apekteinen\). First
aorist active indicative of \apokteinō\, old verb. "Killed me
off," made a clean job of it. Sin here is personified as the
tempter (Ge 3:13).

7:12 {Holy, and righteous, and good} (\hagia kai dikaia kai
. This is the conclusion (wherefore, \hōste\) to the
query in verse 7. The commandment is God's and so holy like
Him, just in its requirements and designed for our good. The
modern revolt against law needs these words.

7:13 {Become death unto me?} (\emoi egeneto thanatos?\). Ethical
dative \emoi\ again. New turn to the problem. Admitting the
goodness of God's law, did it issue in death for me? Paul repels
(\mē genoito\) this suggestion. It was sin that (But sin, \alla
hē hamartia\)
"became death for me." {That it might be shown}
(\hina phanēi\). Final clause, \hina\ and second aorist passive
subjunctive of \phainō\, to show. The sinfulness of sin is
revealed in its violations of God's law. {By working death to me}
(\moi katergazomenē thanaton\). Present middle participle, as an
incidental result. {Might become exceedingly sinful} (\genētai
kath' huperbolēn hamartōlos\)
. Second aorist middle subjunctive
of \ginomai\ with \hina\ in final clause. On \kath' huperbolēn\,
see on ¯1Co 12:31. Our _hyperbole_ is the Greek \huperbolē\. The
excesses of sin reveal its real nature. Only then do some people
get their eyes opened.

7:14 {Spiritual} (\pneumatikos\). Spirit-caused and spirit-given
and like the Holy Spirit. See 1Co 10:3f. {But I am carnal}
(\egō de sarkinos eimi\). "Fleshen" as in 1Co 3:1 which see,
more emphatic even than \sarkikos\," a creature of flesh." {Sold
under sin}
(\pepramenos hupo tēn hamartian\). Perfect passive
participle of \pipraskō\, old verb, to sell. See on ¯Mt 13:46; Ac
2:45, state of completion. Sin has closed the mortgage and owns
its slave.

7:15 {I know not} (\ou ginōskō\). "I do not recognize" in its
true nature. My spiritual perceptions are dulled, blinded by sin
(2Co 4:4). The dual life pictured here by Paul finds an echo in
us all, the struggle after the highest in us ("what I really
wish," \ho thelō\, to practise it steadily, \prassō\)
and the
slipping into doing (\poiō\) "what I really hate" (\ho misō\) and
yet sometimes do. There is a deal of controversy as to whether
Paul is describing his struggle with sin before conversion or
after it. The words "sold under sin" in verse 14 seem to turn
the scale for the pre-conversion period. "It is the unregenerate
man's experience, surviving at least in memory into regenerate
days, and read with regenerate eyes" (Denney).

7:16 {I consent unto the law} (\sunphēmi tōi nomōi\). Old verb,
here only in N.T., with associative instrumental case. "I speak
with." My wanting (\thelō\) to do the opposite of what I do
proves my acceptance of God's law as good (\kalos\).

7:17 {So now} (\nuni de\). A logical contrast, "as the case
really stands." {But sin that dwelleth in me} (\all' hē enoikousa
en emoi hamartia\)
. "But the dwelling in me sin." Not my true
self, my higher personality, but my lower self due to my slavery
to indwelling sin. Paul does not mean to say that his whole self
has no moral responsibility by using this paradox. "To be saved
from sin, a man must at the same time own it and disown it"

7:18 {In me} (\en emoi\). Paul explains this by "in my flesh"
(\en tēi sarki mou\), the unregenerate man "sold under sin" of
verse 14. {No good thing} (\ouk--agathon\). "Not absolutely
good." This is not a complete view of man even in his
unregenerate state as Paul at once shows. {For to will is present
with me}
(\to gar thelein parakeitai moi\). Present middle
indicative of \parakeimai\, old verb, to lie beside, at hand,
with dative \moi\. Only here in N.T. {The wishing} is the better
self, {the doing not} the lower self.

7:19 {But the evil which I would not} (\alla ho ou thelō kakon\).
Incorporation of the antecedent into the relative clause, "what
evil I do not wish." An extreme case of this practise of evil is
seen in the drunkard or the dope-fiend.

7:20 {It is no more I that do it} (\ouketi egō katergazomai
. Just as in verse 17, "no longer do I do it" (the real
\Ego\, my better self)
, and yet there is responsibility and guilt
for the struggle goes on.

7:21 {The law} (\ton nomon\). The principle already set forth
(\ara\, accordingly) in verses 18,19. This is the way it works,
but there is no surcease for the stings of conscience.

7:22 {For I delight in} (\sunēdomai gar\). Old verb, here alone
in N.T., with associative instrumental case, "I rejoice with the
law of God," my real self "after the inward man" (\kata ton esō
of the conscience as opposed to "the outward man"
(2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16).

7:23 {A different law} (\heteron nomon\). For the distinction
between \heteros\ and \allos\, see Ga 1:6f. {Warring against}
(\antistrateuomenon\). Rare verb (_Xenophon_) to carry on a
campaign against. Only here in N.T. {The law of my mind} (\tōi
nomōi tou noos\)
. The reflective intelligence Paul means by
\noos\, "the inward man" of verse 22. It is this higher self
that agrees that the law of God is good (12,16,22). {Bringing
me into captivity}
(\aichmalōtizonta\). See on this late and
vivid verb for capture and slavery Lu 21:24; 2Co 10:5. Surely
it is a tragic picture drawn by Paul with this outcome, "sold
under sin" (14), "captivity to the law of sin" (23). The
ancient writers (Plato, Ovid, Seneca, Epictetus) describe the
same dual struggle in man between his conscience and his deeds.

7:24 {O wretched man that I am} (\talaipōros egō anthrōpos\).
"Wretched man I." Old adjective from \tlaō\, to bear, and
\pōros\, a callus. In N.T. only here and Re 3:17. "A
heart-rending cry from the depths of despair" (Sanday and
. {Out of the body of this death} (\ek tou sōmatos tou
thanatou toutou\)
. So the order of words demands. See verse 13
for "death" which finds a lodgment in the body (Lightfoot). If
one feels that Paul has exaggerated his own condition, he has
only to recall 1Ti 1:15 when he describes himself a chief of
sinners. He dealt too honestly with himself for Pharisaic
complacency to live long.

7:25 {I thank God} (\charis tōi theōi\). "Thanks to God." Note of
victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord." {So then I
(\ara oun autos egō\). His whole self in his unregenerate
state gives a divided service as he has already shown above. In
6:1-7:6 Paul proved the obligation to be sanctified. In
7:7-8:11 he discusses the possibility of sanctification, only
for the renewed man by the help of the Holy Spirit.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Romans: Chapter 7)